PRESIDENT John Mahama, has assured the Chiefs and people of the Western Region that, with oil as the new growth pole, the area will soon become the hub of the country’s power pool.
The Aboadze Thermal Plant, he said, will become the main catalyst of this vision.
Already, he said, the Atuabo gas processing plant is on stream piping gas to power the Aboadze Thermal Plant to augment power supply to solve the difficulties in power generation and ‘Dumsor’ in the country.
Addressing the Western Regional House of Chiefs here yesterday, as part of his five-day visit to the Western and Central regions, President Mahama said, the region would witness more development programmes as potentials of the growth pole was maximised.
The Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, he declared, would propel and expand the power pool as the country was expecting a new power plant at Aboadze making the plant the headquarters of Ghana’s power production providing more services and jobs to young people.
On the Atuabo Port Project, he indicated that, government was determined that the project succeeded, explaining that, it was a product of his recent visits to United Kingdom where, he met the British Prime Minister and gave his commitment for the project to come to Ghana.
The President told the House that, after cabinet and parliament had approved it, some parliamentarians took the matter to court saying that, “it is an abuse of court processes.”
He argued that the country would benefit from a free 10 per cent carried interest and another 45 percent share to government, while the financiers and the promoters, took 20 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, noting that, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, had advantage to enjoy from the various credit facilities .
“The entire project cost $600 million and will also provide jobs for about 5,000 people,” he said
President Mahama, therefore, urged the house to add their voice to the Atuabo Port project so that the country could derive the full benefits from it.
Commenting on the request of 10 per cent by the chiefs from the oil revenue, he pointed that, the House should rather think more beyond that threshold, explaining that, already about $2.5 billion dollars had been injected into the project covering infrastructure, road expansion and the oil and gas sector.
He said, Ghana was a unitary state and if everybody was demanding 10 per cent from the oil revenue, there would be some challenges, saying that “this is a matter for Parliament to decide”.
The Western Region, the President noted, contributed to the economy especially in the oil and gas economy announcing that, a local content arrangement with a capital outlay of $100 million which would provide silks and jobs for youth in the oil and gas industry, while companies interested would also be assisted with training.
“We will continue to ensure the development of the region,” President Mahama pleaded.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that, the Western Region received its fair share of the revenue from the oil and gas activities, as already, the government had launched major interventions to improve the road network.
“Today you can see the evidence; this is just the beginning. We have taken major interventions for example, on cocoa roads, which is five -year project. We have just completed the phase one and two,” he added.
He told the House that, the project was in its third phase and gradually, the region would see more improvement in the road sector which, had been hampered by heavy rains having effect on food production, marketing and transport services.
According to President Mahama, good and bituminous roads lasted longer and also contained the heavy, vehicles adding that, the Elubo-Enchi road had been awarded up to Dadieso and other parts of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
On railway, he said, the project had stalled because of the problem with the China CBD loan, but, assured that the matter was high on the agenda to ensure that rail lines were rehabilitated from Takoradi to Kumasi, with the Takoradi –Awaso stretch, coming on phase one to haul manganese and bauxite.
This will be followed by the Awaso- Dunkwa rail line through to Kumasi, he added, stressing, “I assure you, it’s a major project for the government.”
Contributing to the discussions of the House, Awulae Agyeifi Kwame 11 reiterated the request of the chiefs in the region for a 10 per cent share of the oil revenue.
The President of the House Nana Akwasi Agyemang 1X, appealed to the President to expedite action on the western rail line.
From Clement Adzei Boye, Sekondi